Sports & Outdoors

Competitors swim 8 miles to Alligator Light

A portion of the field of 310 swimmers begin the Swim for Alligator Lighthouse Saturday, Sept. 20, in Islamorada. The eight-mile roundtrip  open water swim, to-and-from Alligator Reef Lighthouse, serves as a fundraiser for local student college scholarships and to create awareness for the need to preserve six aging lighthouses off the Florida Keys island chain.
A portion of the field of 310 swimmers begin the Swim for Alligator Lighthouse Saturday, Sept. 20, in Islamorada. The eight-mile roundtrip open water swim, to-and-from Alligator Reef Lighthouse, serves as a fundraiser for local student college scholarships and to create awareness for the need to preserve six aging lighthouses off the Florida Keys island chain.

More than 300 athletes competed in an eight-mile open-water swim Saturday in the Florida Keys.

The second annual Swim for Alligator Lighthouse was staged as a college scholarship fundraiser for Keys students interested in competitive swimming, but also to raise awareness of the aging Alligator Reef Lighthouse and five other historic lighthouses off the Keys.

The structures are more than 150 years old and the harsh marine environment is taking its toll on them.

The event was conceived by Islamorada resident Larry Herlth, an artist whose metal sculptures and scaled replicas of Keys lighthouses symbolize his passion to preserve the historic beacons.

Yoelvis Pedraza of Miami won overall honors, turning in the fastest time of 3 hours, 35 minutes and 5 seconds.

Miamians Jack Ellis, Henry Urquidi, Nicki Urquidi and Brooke Ellis won the four-person relay division with a time of 4:02:53. Cooper City, Fla., residents Can Datca and Tyler Magarity won the two-person division with 4:47:46.

Virginia residents Nicole Johnson and Jeremy Linn, both from Manassas, placed second in the two-person division, but had an even more eventful swim.

Reaching the halfway mark at Alligator Lighthouse, Johnson accepted Linn's marriage proposal.

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